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Culture and the Course of Human Evolution by Gary TomlinsonThe rapid evolutionary development of modern Homo sapiens over the past 200,000 years is a topic of fevered interest in numerous disciplines. How did humans, while undergoing few physical changes from their first arrival, so quickly develop the capacities to transform their world? Gary Tomlinson's Culture and the Course of Human Evolution is aimed at both scientists and humanists, and it makes the case that neither side alone can answer the most important questions about our origins. Tomlinson offers a new model for understanding this period in our emergence, one based on analysis of advancing human cultures in an evolution that was simultaneously cultural and biological--a biocultural evolution. He places front and center the emergence of culture and the human capacities to create it, in a fashion that expands the conceptual framework of recent evolutionary theory. His wide-ranging vision encompasses arguments on the development of music, modern technology, and metaphysics. At the heart of these developments, he shows, are transformations in our species' particular knack for signmaking. With its innovative synthesis of humanistic and scientific ideas, this book will be an essential text.
Call Number: GN281 .T66 2018
Extreme conservation: life at the edges of the world by Joel BergerOn the Tibetan Plateau, there are wild yaks with blood cells thinner than those of horses' by half, enabling the endangered yaks to survive at 40 below zero and in the lowest oxygen levels of the mountaintops. But climate change is causing the snow patterns here to shift, and with the snows, the entire ecosystem. Food and water are vaporizing in this warming environment, and these beasts of ice and thin air are extraordinarily ill-equipped for the change. A journey into some of the most forbidding landscapes on earth, Joel Berger's Extreme Conservation is an eye-opening, steely look at what it takes for animals like these to live at the edges of existence. But more than this, it is a revealing exploration of how climate change and people are affecting even the most far-flung niches of our planet. Berger's quest to understand these creatures' struggles takes him to some of the most remote corners and peaks of the globe: across Arctic tundra and the frozen Chukchi Sea to study muskoxen, into the Bhutanese Himalayas to follow the rarely sighted takin, and through the Gobi Desert to track the proboscis-swinging saiga. Known as much for his rigorous, scientific methods of developing solutions to conservation challenges as for his penchant for donning moose and polar bear costumes to understand the mindsets of his subjects more closely, Berger is a guide par excellence. He is a scientist and storyteller who has made his life working with desert nomads, in zones that typically require Sherpas and oxygen canisters. Recounting animals as charismatic as their landscapes are extreme, Berger's unforgettable tale carries us with humor and expertise to the ends of the earth and back. But as his adventures show, the more adapted a species has become to its particular ecological niche, the more devastating climate change can be. Life at the extremes is more challenging than ever, and the need for action, for solutions, has never been greater.
Call Number: GF75 .B474 2018
Feats of Strength by Simon LailvauxA fascinating exploration of the extreme world of animal athletics, how these stunning abilities have evolved, and their insights into human performance and evolution. How is it that fish can climb waterfalls, snakes glide, and cheetahs run so fast? Natural and sexual selection has driven the evolution of diverse and amazing athletic abilities throughout the animal kingdom. Integrative biologist Simon Lailvaux draws on decades of performance research to highlight the ecological and evolutionary importance of these abilities, which include running, jumping, flying, biting, climbing, and swimming, and explains the many reasons they exist. He describes the methods and tools scientists use to measure animal performance--remote sensing technologies that can capture a cheetah's running speed, or force meters that gauge the strength of a lizard's bite or crab's grip--as well as the diverse mechanisms underlying and enabling spectacular animal athletic feats. Using examples from the smallest insects to birds, whales, and even dinosaurs, Lailvaux provides a unique glimpse into a vibrant, eclectic field of research and points to new directions for understanding performance evolution in both animals and humans.
Call Number: QH367 .L35 2018
How Humans Evolved by Robert Boyd; Joan B. SilkWith a signature blend of evolutionary theory, population genetics, and behavioral ecology, How Humans Evolved teaches the science and history behind human evolution. Thoroughly updated with coverage of recent research and new discoveries, the Eighth Edition offers the most visual, dynamic, and effective learning tools in its field. The Eighth Edition also includes an expanded suite of animations that help students better visualize and understand tricky concepts, as well as real-world videos and InQuizitive adaptive learning.
Call Number: GN281 .B66 2018
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve BrusatteScientific American: A sweeping and revelatory new history of the age of dinosaurs, from one of our finest young scientists. "This is scientific storytelling at its most visceral, striding with the beasts through their Triassic dawn, Jurassic dominance, and abrupt demise in the Cretaceous." -- Nature The dinosaurs. Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth's most fearsome creatures vanished. Today they remain one of our planet's great mysteries. Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field--naming fifteen new species and leading groundbreaking scientific studies and fieldwork--masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy. Brusatte traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers--themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period--into the dominant array of species every wide-eyed child memorizes today, T. rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and more. This gifted scientist and writer re-creates the dinosaurs' peak during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, when thousands of species thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, emerged. The story continues to the end of the Cretaceous period, when a giant asteroid or comet struck the planet and nearly every dinosaur species (but not all) died out, in the most extraordinary extinction event in earth's history, one full of lessons for today as we confront a "sixth extinction." Brusatte recalls stories from his expeditions during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research--which he calls "a new golden age of discovery"--and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable findings he and his colleagues have made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs; monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex; and paradigm-shifting feathered raptors from China.
Call Number: QE861.4 .B79 2018
Smilodon: The Iconic Sabertooth by Lars Werdelin (Ed); H. Gregory McDonald; Christopher A. Shaw (Ed)Few animals spark the imagination as much as the sabertooth cat Smilodon. With their incredibly long canines, which hung like fangs past their jaws, these ferocious predators were first encountered by humans when our species entered the Americas. We can only imagine what ice age humans felt when they were confronted by a wild cat larger than a Siberian tiger. Because Smilodon skeletons are perennial favorites with museum visitors, researchers have devoted themselves to learning as much as possible about the lives of these massive cats. This volume, edited by celebrated academics, brings together a team of experts to provide a comprehensive and contemporary view of all that is known about Smilodon. The result is a detailed scientific work that will be invaluable to paleontologists, mammalogists, and serious amateur sabertooth devotees. The book covers all major aspects of the animal's natural history, evolution, phylogenetic relationships, anatomy, biomechanics, and ecology * traces all three Smilodon species across both North and South America * brings together original, unpublished research with historical accounts of Smilodon's discovery in nineteenth-century Brazil The definitive reference on these iconic Pleistocene mammals, Smilodon will be cited by researchers for decades to come.
Call Number: QE882.C15 S65 2018
Species by John S. WilkinsOver time the complex idea of "species" has evolved, yet its meaning is far from resolved. This comprehensive work is a fresh look at an idea central to the field of biology by tracing its history from antiquity to today. Species is a benchmark exploration and clarification of a concept fundamental to the past, present, and future of the natural sciences. In this edition, a section is added on the debate over species since the time of the New Synthesis, and brings the book up to date. A section on recent philosophical debates over species has also been added. This edition is better suited non-specialists in philosophy, so that it will be of greater use for scientists wishing to understand how the notion came to be that living organisms form species.
Call Number: QH83 .W527 2018
Who We Are and How We Got Here by David Reich; Eugenie ReichA groundbreaking book about how ancient DNA has profoundly changed our understanding of human history. Geneticists like David Reich have made astounding advances in the field of genomics, which is proving to be as important as archeology, linguistics, and written records as a means to understand our ancestry. In Who We Are and How We Got Here, Reich allows readers to discover how the human genome provides not only all the information a human embryo needs to develop but also the hidden story of our species. Reich delves into how the genomic revolution is transforming our understanding of modern humans and how DNA studies reveal deep inequalities among different populations, between the sexes, and among individuals. Provocatively, Reich's book suggests that there might very well be biological differences among human populations but that these differences are unlikely to conform to common stereotypes.